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South African workers protest over pay

08-11-2010 14:05 BJT

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Tens of thousands of public servants walked off the job on Tuesday protesting against pay and conditions.

The country's largest trade union federation say the industrial action is just a "warning shot" compared to the catastrophe the government will face if it ignores workers' demands.

Disgruntled teachers, police offices, nurses and other public servants in South Africa say they've had enough of what they call "poverty wages".

They took their plight to the politicians in Parliament, in Cape Town, and the Union Buildings, in Pretoria.

Workers are demanding a wage increase of 8.6 per cent, while government has so far refused to budge on its offer of 7 per cent.

They also want better medical aid benefits, and increased housing allowances.

Workers gave the government 48 hours to respond to their demands.

Saying they would bring the country to a standstill if they were ignored.

The strike kept thousands of teachers out of classrooms around the country.

They've been heavily criticised for putting their needs ahead of their pupils.

But it's criticism the teachers have dismissed.

Many protesters were armed with vuvuzelas which appear to have moved from world cup stadia to become instruments of political protest..

Rene Del Carme, Pretoria, South Africa, said, "Union leaders called on government to take their threats seriously. They urged government negotiators to start working on a better deal for public servants. Not tomorrow, or the next day, but now. René Del Carme, CCTV, Union Buildings, Pretoria."

Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: CNTV.CN

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